A Pilot Randomized Trial Evaluating the Cool 2 Be Safe Junior Playground Safety Program for Preschool Children

A Pilot Randomized Trial Evaluating the Cool 2 Be Safe Junior Playground Safety Program for Preschool Children

Authors: Amanda Cox and Barbara A Morrongiello

Abstract

Objective

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death to children worldwide, and playgrounds pose a significant risk of injury. Those aged 5 and 6 years are particularly vulnerable to playground injuries. Previous interventions have typically targeted environmental modifications or increased supervision to reduce playground injuries; however, minimal research has focused on implementing behavioral interventions that seek to change children’s safety knowledge and risk-taking behaviors on the playground. The current randomized trial addressed these gaps in the literature and sought to increase preschool children’s hazard awareness skills and knowledge of unsafe playground behaviors and decrease their intentions to engage in risk-taking behaviors on the playground.

 

Method

A total of 77 children aged 5 and 6 years were tested at a laboratory on a university campus, using a parallel group design, with 38 randomized to the playground intervention group and 39 randomly assigned to a control group. The intervention was manualized and delivered to small groups of children (3–5) over several sessions.

 

Results

Statistical analyses revealed significant group differences. Intervention experience led to significant increases in hazard awareness skills and knowledge of unsafe playground behaviors, and significant decreases in children’s risk-taking behavioral intentions, whereas those in the control group showed no significant changes in these scores. Attention scores for those in the intervention group highlighted that the program content was successful in maintaining children’s attention and engagement, and memory scores indicated excellent retention of lesson content.

 

Conclusion

The program shows promise in addressing the issue of unintentional playground injuries in young children.

Journal:
Journal of Pediatric Psychology
Year:
2024